Last updated: December 9, 2013
Located at the intersection of Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua Mexico, and home to not only the largest urban park in the nation, Franklin Mountains State Park, but also the headquarters of Ft. Bliss, Western Refining, and the University of Texas at El Paso. Aptly nicknamed The Sun City, it has over 300 days of sunshine per year.
Despite the sunshine, legal issues inevitably arise in such a diverse and engaging place. When they do, there are a variety of courthouses available to hear them, but it is important to know which one is appropriate for each type of case. Below is a list of courthouses and additional information about each that you may find useful.
The Justice Courts, presided over by Justices of the Peace, hear small claims matters, criminal misdemeanors (fines up to $500 only), and civil matters with amounts in controversy up to $10,000. In addition, the Justices of the Peace may issue search and arrest warrants, conduct preliminary hearings, and perform marriages. You can find a number of useful materials on the website, including the local rules, as well as a petition for a small claims case, and a records search function.
The Probate Court is “responsible for handling all probate matters of El Paso County, including probating of a decedent's will, administration of a decedent's estate, guardianships of adults and minors, and mental health proceedings.” In addition, “this court is also responsible for the Child Welfare Docket which includes child abuse and/or neglect cases brought by the Texas Department of Human Services.” For additional information on probate, guardianship and administration, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.
This court handles Class C misdemeanors and civil parking tickets within the city limits. The address above on E. Overland is the main location, but there are other offices as well. If you have been called for jury service at this court, here is some additional information on schedules, exemptions, and parking. Bear in mind that if you have been summoned and fail to appear you may be subject to a fine of $100.
This court handles appeals from the El Paso Municipal Court. The Court can, in its discretion, agree to hear an oral argument of your case, but in most cases the matters are decided through the submitted legal briefs. Legal papers should be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions you may find useful.
The County level courts hear criminal misdemeanors with fines or jail and civil matters from $200 to $10,000.
The District level courts hear criminal felonies, divorces, and civil matters over $200. If you have been called as a juror, check out i-Juror which allows you to respond to your summons, request a deferral, complete your juror questionnaire and more.
The Courts of Appeals hear appeals from the district and county courts. There are 14 such courts throughout Texas with El Paso’s designated as the 8th. You may access the local rules here, and get information regarding fees and docketing statement forms as well.
This court handles federal law matters only. The Western District headquarters is in San Antonio, but there are several other court locations throughout the state, including Alpine, Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Ft. Hood, Midland-Odessa, Pecos, San Antonio and Waco. If you are called to jury service at the El Paso location, check here for further information. If you are bringing a lawsuit without an attorney (“pro se”), check out this Step by Step Guide to Filing A Civil Lawsuit. For additional questions, check out the FAQ’s.
This court handles bankruptcy matters only. In addition to El Paso, it has locations in Austin, Midland, San Antonio and Waco. If you are a debtor, you may find these Frequently Asked Questions useful. If you proceed to file a bankruptcy petition, check out the information regarding filing requirements and filing fees.
The Immigration Judges in this court determine whether individuals should be permitted to enter the United States or are deportable and consider various applications such as those for asylum, adjustment of status and more.